by Johnathon Froman
Rocket League is a multiplayer game developed by Psyonix and was released on July 7th, 2015. In the game, you and a team of other players control cars in a modified version of soccer. This action-packed game has garnered incredible success in the gaming community–reaching thousands of players within mere months after its release.
However, this premise of this game is not new to gaming and Rocket League, as it turns out, is the long-awaited sequel to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Power Battle-Cars, released in October of 2008.
Let’s say you’re starting your first match. You’ve just finished the tutorial and now confident you can participate in online matches. After queuing up and connecting to a server, you find yourself spawning into an expansive stadium with hundreds of fans rumbling in the stands. The fans are divided into two colors. Orange and Blue. Those are the team colors. Each time you join a match, you join a random team. This time, you’re on the blue team and there are five other players on the field. Two other cars painted blue support you on either side. On the other end of the field, a trio of orange cars rev their engines menacingly. On both sides of the field, goals stand vulnerable. You know your team will have to do its best to protect it in order to win the game.
The timer starts and placed right in the center of the field is the ball. It’s twice as large as your car, but as you saw in the tutorial, it is easily knocked into whichever direction you hit it. Finally, the timer hits zero, and you have to get to the ball before the other team does. Pressing the forward key, your car begins to lurch forward. But it isn’t enough. You have to go faster. Pressing the boost key, a stream of flame bursts out the back end of your car. Now your surroundings have become a blur and your sight is fixed on the ball. You’re getting closer, but so is the other team. Will you make it?
You do. Your boost meter on the right-bottom corner of your screen is nearly depleted but you prevailed over other players and now the ball is soaring in the air, heading towards the opponent’s side of the field. One of your teammates is besides you now, while the other stays in the center of the field should the ball be knocked towards your side of the field. Currently the ball has bounced off the stadium wall and is heading for your teammate, who has moved toward the left side of the field. The ball is too high for him to hit it on the ground, so he flies upwards. By pressing the dodge key, his car moves up towards the air. Then in an instant, he’s using his boost key to raise his car to even higher heights. You marvel as your teammate completes what is called in-game as an “Aerial Hit” as he and the ball collide in midair and the ball is sent flying, this time towards you!
Thankfully, you can see the ball is slowly heading towards the ground. You speed up your car to hit it, but you know that you have to time the ball perfectly,otherwise it’ll be sent in a direction you don’t want it to go and that could end in disaster. With split second timing, you are able to hit the dodge key twice while holding the forward key to first launch your car into the air, and then, in mid air, spin it forward to knock the ball even closer to the opponent’s goal. The ball speeds away and it looks like it’s heading toward the goal!
But seemingly out of nowhere, an orange car launches itself off-screen and slams into the ball with vicious force, deflecting the shot and send it to your side of the field!
Leaping forward, the rest of the orange team knock you to the side as they charge into the blue area. But before they can turn the tables, you see your teammate who was patrolling the center of the field. She had been waiting for an opportunity to score when the ball was clear but now she’s on the defensive. Activating her boost, she intercepts the orange player who had knocked the ball to your side of the field. While you were knocked aside by the other orange players, the first one had almost caught up to the ball. Now he was threatening to score.
Suddenly however, with a loud BOOM! a cloud of gray smoke rises from where the orange player had been. The blue defender then zoomed out of the smoke and slid on the wall before turning and aiming to knock the ball back to the orange side of the field. You remember that in-game that this is called a Demolition. When your car goes fast enough, you have the one-time capability to ram into another car at a speed so high it explodes the car and the player who was demo’d is returned to his goal on his side of the field after a few seconds. These few precious seconds of 3v2 could potentially help your team score!
By now, you’re back on your wheels and ready to score. However, you’re out of boost. Your car won’t move nearly as fast as it should. But there are small boost pickups all along the stadium floor and “full” boost pickups in each corner and two in the middle sides. Quickly, you turn and pick up a full boost and watch as your boost meter fills up to 100.
Meanwhile, both the orange team and the blue have already battled it out on the blue side of the field and currently you watch as the ball slowly traverses the air to the orange side of the field. On the ground, your teammates and the orange team are scrambling; while your team is trying to position themselves to hit the ball, the orange team is ramming themselves into them while a third slowly starts to approach the ball’s interception point with the ground. Now is your time to strike. You speed up. Passing one of your teammates who’s just been demo’d, your boost kicks in and the field becomes a blur. Your other teammate has dodged out of the way of an orange team demo, and the opponent was sent flying to the other side of the field. By the time he gets back on the orange side of the field, it’ll be too late. Both you and another orange teammate are speeding towards the ball. It seems like it was placed perfectly in between you both, like physics had willed it so. Time slows down as both you and your adversary launch yourselves into the air simultaneously. Either two of things will happen. You hit the ball and it’s knocked extremely close to the orange goal where your remaining teammate has an open shot or the orange player hits the ball and sends it soaring into the blue side of the field, where the other orange team player there as a result of missing his demo attempt, giving the orange team a clear shot at the goalpost. You’re a little closer to the ball, but the ball is moving towards him, not you. The question is: Who’ll end up hitting it first?
You could find out for yourself by trying out Rocket League on PC, PS4, or Xbox One during their free to play weekend on Steam that will last from the 22nd to the 25th and join millions of players as they battle it out for victory. Thanks to the large success and popularity Rocket League has had, deals such as these have occurred once already when the DeLorean from Back to the Future was added to the game as an available car. The future for this game is bright as future deals such as these improve Psyonix’s ability to make this game increasingly awesome for its fanbase such as the new ‘Hoops’ game-mode being added later this month and its new professional league the ‘Rocket League Championship Series’.